The flowers are children of the sea. But what is the sea itself? In "The Helmsman" it becomes a titanic being, wilful and hypnotic, who seems to personify a not unwelcome threat of death. The shepherds who speak the poem flee the Helmsman. They hurry inland and lovingly catalogue the wild beauties of the shore: oak, hyssop, bramble, acorn-cups. They revel among the acorn-cups and dip their ankles in the leaf-mould. But they yearn for something beyond the land, something which only the sea holds for them--a harsh kind of peace, probably death itself. Finally they desert their flocks and set sail:
But now, our boat climbs—hesitates—drops-- . . . . O be swift-- we have always known you wanted us.